BE Modern Man: Jay Veal
Entrepreneur; 37; Founder and CEO, It’s Not Complicated (INC) Tutoring L.L.C. and The Jay Veal Brand L.L.C.; Co-Founder of INC Beauty L.L.C.
My original background was in IT and tech. Over time, I noticed that I liked tech, but didn’t have exactly a huge passion for it. After several years in the industry, I kept getting emails about being an educator and ended up going to an info session. I ended up liking it and started teaching high school freshmen Pre AP math courses in 2008. I spent several years teaching high school math in different districts, then was promoted to a campus math instructional coach, and, eventually, a district-level administrator as a STEM instructional coach. This led me to become an adjunct professor of mathematics at a university for four and a half years.
In the middle of all this, I noticed a gap in what students of color were getting in the classroom and how they weren’t supported outside the classroom by people who looked like them. At this time, INC Tutoring was birthed. I started it as a one-man show in the middle of 2013 and now we are the No. 1 African American-owned private tutoring company in Dallas/Fort Worth and the Southern U.S. We have earned 11 awards for our holistic approach to private tutoring combined with mentoring and backend support. We provide private tutoring to students from 5 years old to doctorate level in STEM subjects, test prep, English, reading, writing, and foreign languages. In addition, we have a 95% success rate of our students earning A’s and B’s in over 48 content areas companywide, impacting mostly students of color. Our team of private tutoring consultants is in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Chicago, Washington DC, and Austin, Texas, and we are expanding to Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina, this winter.
The Jay Veal Brand is an education and business consulting firm impacting small business owners at different levels of their entrepreneurial careers, and assisting schools and organizations with educational or professional consulting services and speaking services.
INC Beauty is a Dallas-based innovative premier beauty education brand created to give women on-demand beauty education services. We offer custom beauty education classes, special events, and education sessions for makeup artists and clients, featured resource blogs, and a revive and renew program for senior citizens, in addition to women who are breast cancer survivors, transitioning from human trafficking, domestic abuse survivors, divorcees, depression survivors, and more.
I’m also a contributing writer for Black Enterprise in education and credit/financial literacy.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?
I am most proud of the day that God talked to me and told me exactly what my purpose in life was! They always say, there are two best moments in your life: the day you were born, and the day you find out the reason WHY you were born. Well, I discovered the latter. One day I was praying and he said: “Jay, you need to be in education.” That’s all He said and disappeared. I didn’t know what to think next because my vision and my plan for life were to be a CIO of a Fortune 100 company. Well, they say “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
He got the last laugh and I went into the education space. It was the best decision of my life! I discovered I had a gift for teaching outside of private tutoring, with phenomenal results. I excelled in my educational career smoothly and became respected as a thought leader in the field as a true mathematician.
HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?
There was a time when I noticed the bottom line revenue in INC Tutoring seemed stale for a little bit of time in October 2018. The profit line was a little flat using a percentage model in how we pay consultants. My business manager, Clinton Maychi, and I sat together to figure out what was going on with costs and other things. Our discovery was that we needed to move to a more straight-line hourly pay rate based on experience and our profit margins went up above 60%. This was something that took time to notice, address, and fix. From there, we have been successful in our revenue strategies.
WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST MALE ROLE MODEL AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM HIM?
My greatest male role model is my dad. He is retired from the Air Force and had a strict protocol when I was growing up. He taught me quite a bit about responsibility, owning up to my actions and mistakes, and some financial literacy. He also taught me how to play pool when growing up to the point where I was actually a pool shark by the age of 13. I won pool tournaments all over back in Arizona. I learned much about “teaching how to fish,” which I am very appreciative of. He also always wanted me to make sure I treat others well.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE MANHOOD?
Manhood to me is not only when one has transitioned from a boy to a man, but when you have self-awareness and self-confidence. It is when you are secure with yourself and handle your responsibilities with grace and determination. Manhood is knowing when to apologize for your mistakes and wrongdoings and make the right decisions moving forward.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
“What looks good to you isn’t always good for you.”
Also, “In order to conduct the orchestra, you must turn your back on the crowd.”
Lastly, “Be unique and wildly different.”
HOW ARE YOU PAYING IT FORWARD TO SUPPORT OTHER BLACK MALES?
Part of what I do every day is to provide support for black males. In the private tutoring company, we provide holistic, prescriptive tutoring for mostly students of color. The stakeholders involve parents, teachers, counselors, students, the consultants, and the coaches in one communication circle to ensure academic success. Then, we provide backend support to ensure there are no excuses to not have an A or B in any classes. Many we have served out of the 7,700 private tutoring sessions and the couple thousand students have been black males. In my most recent TEDx talk that I did in New York, I discussed how building relationships with black males and supporting them holistically is the key to helping them win and the key to closing achievement gaps, opportunity gaps, and belief gaps.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?
I love being unapologetically me as a young black man. Being a black man is knowing that you have to work twice as hard as everyone else no matter what job it is. Whether it is climbing the corporate ladder, being in leadership roles, gaining funding, and more. Being a black man means that we can’t be “half pregnant” in our efforts to be the best at what we do. In addition, when we have families or children, we have to go all in to ensure we take care of our kids and wives without society labeling us as otherwise. Lastly, being a black man means that I have to be the best Kappa man that I can be and put to work our motto of “Achievement in Every Field of Human Endeavor.”
WHAT PRACTICES, TOOLS, BOOKS, ETC. DO YOU RELY ON FOR YOUR SUCCESS?
My daily motivational rule normally consists of listening to three key individuals on YouTube every morning: Gary Vee [Vaynerchuk], John Henry, and Tim Ferriss. As of late, I have also listened to words of wisdom from Robert Smith.
I have a pretty good book list that I rely on for success. Here are some great books that I read or have read.
1) Crushing It – Gary Vee
2) Tribe of Mentors – Tim Ferriss
3) The Creator’s Code – Amy Wilkinson
4) Finding My Voice – Valerie Jarrett
5) Creating Signature Stories – David Aaker
6) TED talks – Chris Anderson
7) GRIT – Angela Duckworth
8) Smart Money, Smart Kids – Dave Ramsey and Cruze
These are a few books that I encourage everyone who reads this to put in their collection. As far as practices, I stand by being the best version of yourself every day and do what you say you are going to do always.
BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community, and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (www.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://www.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.